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Music worth leaving the house to hear this week

An Epic At Best, Sing! Sing! Prison, Cities
Local 506
Wednesday, Dec. 22

Oftentimes, when a band Web site refers me to follow-up that's all the rage with the kids--I cringe with hesitation, expecting to hear off-key emo or punk drivel recorded in a bathroom. This is not one of those times, and An Epic at Best--a co-ed Athens five-piece indie band with perfectly pensive proclivities and Death Cab for Cutie-styled atmospherics--is not one of those bands. For the proof, www.purevolume. com/anepicatbest . 10 p.m. --GC

Jim Watson's 20th Annual Christmas Show
The Cave
Wednesday, Dec. 22

This is how it's been for 20 years now: Original Red Clay Rambler Jim Watson plays and sings a bit to warm up the crowd. "Then the sheet music gets passed out, and the whole bar sings," says the disarmingly excitable Mouse, co-owner of the Cave. "It's the caroling event." Pass the hat. 8 p.m. --RC

Chatham County Line
The Pour House
Wednesday, Dec. 22

The rustic, finger-pickin' bluegrass bounce of the CCL sounds descended from another time. Even the lyrics on last year's self-titled debut--from its recollections of the old Nashville station WSM to its ode to the TVA--hark back to past decades. But far from being to their detriment, the quartet's steely-eyed nostalgia (which feels neither wistful nor romantic) and its steadfastly antediluvian approach seem all the more universal for the ease with which they unfold their stories and convey them to modern ears, like an amorous letter from then to today, signed TLA and SWAK. --CP

The Hard Lessons, The Weather, The Greatest Hits
Dec. 23

Garage rock comes in so many flavors, sometimes it comes down to branding, and you can't get a much better sponsor lately than Detroit. Motown's taste is undeniable, from the Paybacks to The Hard Lessons, whose chaotic crunch splices rabid sixties roar with a touch of Stax soul swagger. Accompanying locals The Greatest Hits mine an equally boisterous alt-rock sound, which captures the rock-to-the-edge-of-oblivion energy of the early Replacements. 10 p.m. --CP

Jule Brown, Randy Whitt, Emily Waszak
Local 506
Thursday, Dec. 23

"Country blues so sinister it could scare the guy who scared Robert Johnson," offered an early review of the music of Jule Brown--actually Jennyanykind's Mark Holland and others working with a backwoods savant back story. The sound is certainly spooky and rustic enough to justify the naming of Brown's second album after an Ambrose Bierce story. Free show/10 p.m. --RC

Christmas Night at Kings
Saturday, Dec. 25

If you've spent low-key time with family and friends all day, maybe it's time to shake a tail feather down at the Barcade. DJ Madcow spins mix-and-match styles so you have a body-moving alternative to that morning jog on Sunday. Free pool and Krispy Kremes, too. --CT

Jeff Wall & The Hillbilly Love Gods
The Pour House
Sunday, Dec. 26

"He's very intelligent and very well read, but he's just bizarre," says Pour House booker Marianne Taylor of self-proclaimed hillbilly love god Jeff Wall. "I think he just likes to laugh at himself." The Twangzine author plays white trash music suitable for drinkin' an sinnin'. "It's gonna be just a funky honky tonk night," Taylor says. 7 p.m./$5--GB

Christmas Leftovers 2004 Movie Night with A/V Geeks
Tuesday, Dec. 28

With special guest Canadian film archivist Dion Conflictt, Skip Elsheimer brings another round of eccentric and bizarre filmstrips for a year-end blowout. Look for holiday-themed goodies, both nostalgic and corny as heck, and some door prizes for extra fun. $3/9 p.m. --CT

David Childers and the Modern Don Juans
The Pour House
Tuesday, Dec. 28

"It's hard to keep your soul," says David Childers of the music business. "It can be a very heart breaking, destructive thing if you let it, but I haven't let it do that to me." Instead, Childers sings of the lost and disenfranchised in a voice that sounds like he's spent some time in hell himself. "I'm really happy that I just get to go out and play and there's people there to hear us." 8 p.m./$6--GB

The Hard Lessons, The Weather, Fake Swedish
Local 506
Wednesday, Dec. 29

If The Hard Lessons didn't hail from Detroit, that bastion of rockin' goodness would probably creep into every mention, anyhow, as they seamlessly meld a love of both the city's rock tendency--overdriven guitars and booming drums--and soul style--preachy, soul-stirring swagger from the fiery Korin Cox. The Weather beckons the ghosts of Detroit, too, with a classic-fueled guitar crunch that integrates Marc Bolan and Neil Young where The Lessons insert Aretha and Diana Ross. --GC

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